By Michael Odeng
KAMPALA - Several youth who turned up for the three-day Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) recruitment exercise in Kampala were disqualified after they tested positive for Hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS.
The deputy army spokesperson, Major Robert Ngabirano, said that out of 600 youth who were tested by the army doctors, 8 percent of them had Hepatitis B or HIV/AIDS.
Hepatitis B is a blood-borne virus which can be spread sexually and exposure of non-intact skin (open cuts) or mucous membranes (such as the genital tract) to infected blood or, less efficiently, after exposure to infected body fluids.
“We involved the youth in physical exercises first, including a 5km run and started carrying out medical states immediately only to find out some had high blood pressure, Hepatitis B, among other diseases,” he added.
He said that those candidates whose papers were certified are the only ones who were subjected to urinalysis and blood tests.
Ngabirano also said 16 women were dropped out of the recruitment exercise after they were discovered pregnant. Others were disqualified on grounds of having fabricated academic documents, physical disability and advanced age.
“Those who were found with skin rashes and defects in the five senses of the human body were also dropped because they are not physically and mentally fit as certified by the medical team for army training,” he added.
Brig. Phinehas Katirima (R) oversaw the recruitment at Kololo. PHOTO/Peter Busomoke
Ngabirano said that the move is meant to close the labour gaps in UPDF left behind by those who have retired and got disabled as a result of war.
The army recruits who passed were immediately taken to Kaweweta Military Training School.
The recruitment exercise ended Sunday with districts like Kampala, Budaka, Isingiro, Mbarara, Butaleja, Pallisa, Koboko, Budaka, Adjumani and Ibanda winding up. Only 3000 recruits were required countrywide.
However, most of the disqualified recruits say that selection was not based on merit. Those who talked to New Vision complained that after they did the 5km run, they were told to return the next day for medical checkup only to be told that the vacancies were full.
Ngabirano said candidates to be recruited as cadet officers possessed a minimum qualification of Uganda Advanced Certificate of Education while ordinary recruits had Uganda Certificate of Education.
He pointed out that most government officials brought their children and relatives for consideration during the exercise but some were dropped out because they did not have the required qualifications.